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Lawyers Club of San Diego is a specialty bar association committed to advancing the status of women in the law and society. We use this space to share articles written about Lawyers Club events and programs and items of interest to our members which are relevant to our mission. The opinions outlined in content published on the Lawyers Club of San Diego blog are those of the authors and not of Lawyers Club. All members are encouraged to participate respectfully in discussions regarding the topics posted on the blog. Guest writers are welcome. Guidelines for writers may be found on the Leadership Resources page.

 

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Guest Blog: Living Your Authentic Self in Business

Posted By Marci Bair, Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Living Your Authentic Self in Business

 

We have just kicked off the LGBTQ Task Force of Lawyers Club of San Diego. Our primary purpose is to work to identify, acknowledge, and address the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ women in the legal community. In our introductory meeting, we shared standard networking meeting information—our names, businesses, and areas of specialty. What was unique to this meeting was an additional question, “Why are you interested in joining the Lawyers Club LGBTQ Task Force?” Answers ranged from straight allies who had an LGBTQ family member they wanted to support, to members that identified as LGBTQ, to others that were just supportive of the LGBTQ community and wanted to lend their help. Some attorneys shared stories of being LGBTQ but not “out” at work at all, or not being out with clients. They shared their concern that being “out” may hurt their business or work promotion opportunities.

 

After leaving the meeting, I got to thinking about how much more productive and happy a person can be when they are able to bring their whole self to work and live an authentic life.

 

I have tried to live my life authentically inside and outside of the business world, and have always been open and transparent with my clients that I am gay. I don’t waive a rainbow flag as soon as they enter my office, but I proudly display pictures of my wife and kids around my office. I also state on the front page of my website that I work with LGBTQ couples and have an image of an LGBTQ family. Some people in business feel that if their clients find out they are LGBTQ, they may lose business or feel that it is none of the clients’ business. Both of these are very valid points and if you are a private person, you may be more comfortable not talking about your family whether you are LGBTQ or straight.

 

However, living more openly in the business world has allowed me to carve out a niche and a devoted clientele that is also either LGBTQ or progressive. This allows me to build stronger bonds and more trust than I might have otherwise. I am pleased to say that I am celebrating 25 years with my business and the majority of my clients are LGBTQ or referred from the LGBTQ community—showing that you can have a thriving business and be openly LGBTQ.

 

In San Diego, we are lucky to have so many LGBTQ-oriented professional organizations, such as the Tom Homann Law Association, Diversity Supplier Alliance, and Greater San Diego Business Association, in addition to open and inclusive organizations like Lawyers Club where LGBTQ or progressive business owners are welcomed and can thrive.

 

If you want to attract and retain LGBTQ clients, there are simple things you can do, like state on your website that you work with LGBTQ families, or use images of LGBTQ couples to let a prospective client know that your office is a safe place for them to come and feel comfortable. In addition, you can make sure that your intake forms or fact finders are LGBTQ-friendly by not just stating a place for husband and wife, but instead using the term spouse/partner. Also, when a client is single or does not come in with their spouse or partner, don’t assume that they are straight.

We all work with clients at sensitive points in their lives. The more we can make them feel comfortable, the better the relationship will be with them and the more enjoyable the experience.

 

The more you are able to live your authentic life in business, the happier you will be and the more business you will attract because you will be working with your whole self.

 

Marci Bair wrote this for the Lawyers Club LGBTQ Task Force, and as the President of Bair Financial Planning, she has provided financial planning and impact investing for sustainable wealth for the past 25 years.

Tags:  authentic life  business  LCB  LGBTQ  LGBTQ Task Force  out  same-sex couples  straight  Tom Homan 

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Chasing the Last Wave: "Taking Networking to the Mat!"

Posted By Molly T. Tami , Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Taking Networking to the Mat!  

 

Do you play golf? Personally, I am not a fan of the sport for several reasons that I will address below. I recognize, however, that many people enjoy golf, and some find themselves obsessed with it. Most of those people are unquestionably men. Should more women be encouraged to “hit the links?”

 

Lawyers and other professionals often cite golf as the best networking opportunity out there. For that reason, women lawyers are urged to take up the game. In a commentary on why more women should play golf, the CEO of the Executive Women’s Golf Association states: “Golf has been deemed the sport of business. Few, if any, activities can duplicate the power of golf to boost one’s career regardless of gender. The game provides unmatchable networking time with clients, prospects and colleagues, including coveted access to senior management.” Recognizing this, the Lawyers Club and other professional women’s organizations have facilitated golf lessons for their members.

 

Perhaps golf is great for business, but there are good reasons why women don’t play this male dominated sport and frankly, don’t want to. Firstly, many women never had the opportunity to learn to play the sport while growing up, and thus, never developed the skills or the interest. Moreover, most women who have children or other family commitments do not have the time or inclination to spend hours on the golf course on weekends or evenings. I have witnessed many marriages severely strained by the husband’s obsession with his weekend golf game while his wife stayed home to take care of the children and oversee the family’s weekend activities. (I hope this phenomenon was more prevalent with my age group of the baby boomers, than it is with younger couples.)  Finally, I know many women who would rather be pursuing other activities for exercise, enjoyment, networking, and connecting in a meaningful way with other people.

 

For example, let’s consider yoga. It’s hugely popular these days given its many health benefits and accessibility.Yoga for Everyone, a recent New York Times piece, extolls the virtues of a yoga practice. Yoga really is for everyone, and both men and women can practice together in a variety of settings. And in my experience, great connections can be forged before, during and after a yoga class!  

 

So here’s my idea. As we chase the last wave of feminism and work to advance women in the legal profession, I propose that we strive to make yoga the sport of business and networking. I would argue that the non-judgmental and reflective nature of yoga aligns well with the goals of making meaning connections and reaching agreement with others. If others came to recognize this, then perhaps we would see great interest in participating in yoga retreats, not just in golf outings.

 

Networking and making connections is an important part of my job, but don’t look for me on the golf course. Instead, you will find me sitting on my yoga mat breathing, stretching and connecting with my fellow yogis. Why not join us and help make it a movement!   

 

Molly Tami, who serves as the Assistant Dean for Career & Professional Development at USD School of Law, is passionate about advancing women in the legal profession.              

Tags:  business  Chasing the Last Wave  connections  equality  feminism  feminist  gender  golf  LCB  legal profession  networking  women  yoga 

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